Overview of this lesson:
This lesson picks up at the tenth and final plague in Egypt. It does not cover in detail the specifics of the 10th plague.
Rather, it explains the significance of putting blood on the doorpost and how that protected people from the plague. After that the story moves to the Red Sea crossing.
The most interesting parts of this story are when you help the kids understand how God was directing the children of Israel into what seemed like a dead end.
To Pharaoh it looked the they were lost and just wandering around the desert! But God had a plan and this story climaxes with the amazing result of that plan, the parting of the Red Sea.
Have fun with this story. At the end of this I decided to sing the song ‘How Did Moses Cross the Red Sea?’ with the kids. Without the help of music or a video the kids quickly picked up on the easy tune of the song and we had a great time singing it together
Last week we talked about the children of Israel in Egypt. They were slaves to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who thought that he and his made up idols were god.
So the real God sent plagues, 9 of them, that we talked about last week, to show Pharaoh just how powerful he was. Today we are going to talk about the last of those plagues. The tenth one, this plague was so bad that Pharaoh not only let Moses and the Israelites go, he asked them, he forced them, to leave.
But before we talk about what happened I want to show you something about this story that Moses writes down for us in Exodus.
Look at this picture. (show the picture of the first colony in Roanoke)
This is a famous picture from something you have probably all studied in American History. This is a picture of the first English Colony in America. Does anyone know where this is? Correct! It’s Roanoke. If we count back from today, and count all the way back to this picture we’d be counting 430 years. That’s a long time, huh!?
430 years ago today from today the first English colony in America was just getting started. That’s a long time ago, huh!? Well, that is exactly how long the children of Israel were in Egypt. 430 years. From the last few chapters in Genesis through Exodus chapter 13, 430 years go by. It doesn’t seem like that much time when we just look at it. (show how few pages there are between the end of Genesis and Exodus 13) But if we add it all up, it’s 430 years. From the time of the first English colony, Roanoke, until now, that is how long the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt.
The Final Plague in Egypt
So if you remember God had told Moses to ask Pharaoh to “let my people go!” And Pharaoh said… “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no” 9 different times Pharaoh said “no”. So God tells Moses he is going to send one more plague, a terrible one, and this plague will convince Pharaoh to let the slaves go. Here’s what Moses was to do.
In order to be safe from this plague Moses had to put blood on the doorpost of his house. So Moses and all the Israelite slaves put blood on the doorpost of their houses in order to be safe from this plague. But here’s the interesting part… God told Moses to use sheep’s blood, lamb’s blood for the doorpost. Moses had to go get a lamb and use it’s blood to protect himself. The problem is sheep, like many animals in Egypt were sacred. The people of Egypt actually worshipped the sheep. They thought the sheep were very very important and very very off-limits.
But God tells Moses to use lamb’s blood to put over his door. You see the problem? Moses, and the people of Israel had a choice. Either listen to God and use the lamb or listen to the Egyptians and not touch the lamb because it was sacred. After all, what would happen to an Israelite slave if one of the Egyptians woke up in the morning and realized that a lamb had been hurt! They would not have been happy! But Moses, and the children of Israel, chose to listen to God and they were safe from the last plague. Not only that, but in the middle of the night, Pharaoh wakes up and calls urgently for Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down what Pharaoh said to him:And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone. Exodus 12:31-32a
Pharaoh Gives Up
Pharaoh is in a panic.
He wants Moses out RIGHT NOW. No more messing around, he wants all the slaves, and Moses and Aaron to leave immediately.
And just for fun look at the last thing Pharaoh says as they are leaving..“….and bless me also” Exodus 12:32b
This is kind of ironic. As Pharaoh is kicking Moses and his people out of Egypt he says, ‘Hey just in case your God is real and because I am really scared of him right now, Bless me also.’ Pharaoh asks Moses’ God, the real God, to bless him. That’s quite a different tune from a few verses ago.
So Moses and all the slaves leave…and they leave with their arms full. Verse 36 in Exodus 12 says:The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. Exodus 12:36
Does being ‘plundered’ sound like something you’d like to have happen to you? No! Does plundering someone else sound like a better idea? Yeah! We don’t even have to know what ‘plundered’ means to know that the Egyptians were on the wrong end of this deal. Here’s what happened… Each of the slaves asked the Egyptians for money, and clothing. And the Egyptians gave it to them, willingly. When the slaves left they took lots of the Egyptians money and clothing with them. They plundered the Egyptians.
Egypt was completely destroyed from the plagues, the crops were almost all gone and only the animals left in barns were still alive. Egypt was a disaster, and the slaves were walking out of the country, as free people. What a crazy turn around. The very same people who were slaves for 430 years are now free to leave.
Let’s take a break and look at some maps.
What is this is a map of?
Right! It’s the world.
And does anyone know where we are on this map? (help them find where you live)
Well the cool thing is, not only are we on this map, but our story is also on this map.
If we zoom in on this area here, (zoom in on Africa) we find a country called Egypt. This is the same Egypt we’ve been talking about. And if we zoom in a little further…we can see where the slaves left Egypt.
So as the slaves walked away from Pharaoh they headed over to the promised land, Canaan which is up by river at the top of the map.
But then something that seems awful strange happens. God gives Moses some different directions:Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Exodus 14:2
Got that?!! Didn’t think so!
But remember, this happened a long time ago. So when Moses was alive he knew where all these places were. Moses grew up in Egypt and probably knew his way around better than most people. So when he heard these directions he knew exactly what to do.
Do you know what God wanted Moses to do? He was telling them to go this way. He was telling them to stop walking towards the promised land and to start walking a totally different direction. I’m sure to a lot of them probably thought Moses had gone a little crazy.
We don’t know exactly what the slaves thought of Moses, but we do know what Pharaoh thought.
Pharaoh Changes His Mind
Pharaoh had watchtowers all over the land that would help him keep an eye on anything that might be going on in the country. They didn’t have the internet so the best way to communicate were these watchtowers. The people in each watchtower would use mirrors to communicate with each other and eventually those messages would get back to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh learns where they are going and probably starts to laugh. ‘They are crazy. They don’t even know which way to go. They are wandering around and they are completely lost.’ If we look at the map, we can see what Pharaoh saw.
If you look near the bottom of triangle shaped land you see what? Mountains! and after the mountains…the blue stuff is… water! Pharaoh looks at where the slaves are headed and thinks, ‘They are trapped! There is no where for them to go! They will have to go around the mountains and they don’t have any boats to cross the water, they are stuck!’ You see at this point Pharaoh had probably started to realize what he had done. He had let all the slaves, all his employees, all his help…he had let them go.
Egypt was a mess because of the plagues AND he had let all his help walk out on him. Pharaoh realizes what he needs to do. He’s going to go get the slaves back! So he rounds up 600 of his best chariots, and his best army officers and quickly begins to chase after Moses and the Israelite slaves. We don’t know for sure, but many people think this is where Moses and the Israelite slaves ended up. (show next slide)
So Moses and all the thousands and thousands of slaves ended up here.
You see that tiny opening in the middle of the picture between the mountains? That is the only way in or out. That pathway winds through these mountains and anyone who gets to this point has probably come through that pathway.
So Moses and all the slaves are on this beach with only one way out and they hear something! They hear Pharaoh’s army closing in behind them. Pharaoh has found them and he is coming to hunt them down. They will all be taken back to Egypt to become slaves again. Moses and the children of Israel are trapped. There is only one way in or out and that path is blocked by Pharaoh’s army.
So the people feel the way you would probably feel. They are really really scared. They’ve come to a spot where they are trapped and one of the most powerful men on the earth at that time is coming to chase them down.
Listen to what they say:They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:11-12
They say ‘Moses…What are you doing? It was bad enough we were slaves in Egypt. Now we are trapped in the middle of the desert with an angry Pharaoh chasing us. You’ve taken us from bad to worse! What are you doing??’ The Israelites are really really scared. They are just like us.
Have you ever been really scared? Not like afraid of the dark scared, but like actually really afraid something terrible was going to happen? When you feel really afraid like that you also get…mad. Just like the Israelites. They are terrified of Pharaoh and his army. So they get mad at Moses. Thousands and thousands of people are in a complete panic, scared for their lives and they are all blaming Moses.
Then Moses does what no army leader has probably ever done. Moses stands up in front of thousands of terrified people and says ‘Stop!’ He says:Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord… Exodus 14:13
Moses says, ‘Don’t move, STAND STILL, God is about to do something amazing. God knows that you are scared and afraid. God knows that Pharaoh’s army is RIGHT BEHIND us. God is going to take these bad circumstances and do something amazing with them.’
The Red Sea Crossing
This whole time God had been leading the Israelites, the slaves, around Egypt by a cloud.
By day it was a big white cloud and at night the cloud was a great big ball of fire! Pretty cool, huh? Well God takes the cloud and he moves it so it separates Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh and his army. (show the picture of the dark / light beach)
On one side of the cloud it is perfectly bright and sunny. But on on the other side of the cloud, it is dark and black. Moses and the Israelites can see just fine. Pharaoh and his army can’t see the hand in front of their face.
God is protecting Moses and his people.
So God tells Moses – take the rod that you have in your hand, the same rod that you used to turn the Nile river into blood and I want you to stretch it out over the water. So Moses did what God said. And I bet many of you know what happened.
The water separated so there was a walkway right through the middle of the ocean. God moved the water so Moses and all the Israelite slaves could escape through to the other side of the water.
“The Wheels Come Off”
Once they were across, Pharaoh and his army tried to follow them. And you know what happened?And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty Exodus 14:25a
As the Egyptians tried to cross through the path in the sea God made their chariot wheels fall off! Can you drive a car without wheels? Nope! Do you think you can drive a chariot without wheels? Nope!
God prevented the Egyptians from catching Moses and the Israelites. In fact, about 50 years ago a diving team went to this same area and found this: (show picture of the chariot wheel)
What does this look like? A wheel right. This is a wheel that the divers found in the water. And it dates back to the time of this story in Exodus. So this is probably one of the wheels from the Egyptian chariots that never made it across! This is one of the wheels that God took off the chariots!
Thousands of years after this story took place we are still talking about it and looking at pictures of what happened.
Why? Is it because we just want to study more history?
You see, over and over again throughout the book of Exodus God said he had one single purpose in doing everything He did. God had one reason for sending all the plagues.
God had one reason for making it look like Moses and friends were wandering in the wilderness. God had one reason for parting the Red Sea. God wanted Moses, the Israelites, Pharaoh, and us to know that He alone is God. God wanted to use this story to remind us of what a great God He is.
God wanted to prove just how strong and how powerful He is by letting us hear this part of history. There is a verse in Isaiah that says it well. Let’s all stand up and say it together. (show verse slide)The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28
As we finish up today let’s sing a song together! Everyone stand up! How many of you know this tune?
(hum the tune of “Little Peter Rabbit Had a Fly Upon His Nose”)
Good! Here’s How the Song Goes:
How did Moses cross the Red Sea?
How did Moses cross the Red Sea?
How did Moses cross the Red Sea?
How did he get across?
Did he swim?
Did he row? No! No!
Did he jump? No! No! No! No!
Did he drive? No! No!
Did he fly? No! No!
How did he get across?
God blew with His wind, huff, huff, huff, huff.
He blew just enough, ‘nough, ‘nough, ‘nough, ‘nough’
And through the sea He made a path That’s how he got acrossShare this post: